The Surrey farm shop that has always been there, offering a waterside picnic with local produce

All farm shops are special, but not all have been around as long as Kingfisher Farm Shop. This quaint shop on Guildford Road, Dorking traces its origins back to 1850. This May they are celebrating 170 years by offering a unique tour of their grounds, as well as a catered picnic by the pond.

Although a range of flowers and food are sold today, the site’s origins were a watercress farm. In 1888 an estimated 400 tons of watercress were grown per year, which would then be sold loose in shops.

The scale of the project became so great that in the 1950s an extra carriage was added to a local train to bring watercress to London on Good Friday, the biggest trading day.

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When watercress became less profitable, the farm shop was developed and locally produced products were sold to local residents. However, watercress remains an essential part of the site’s heritage and in May you may have a unique opportunity to see it.

On May 11, history buffs can delve into the history of the Kingfisher site. The Watercress Beds are open for tours and discover how the plant is grown from seed to shelf. In addition, the archive is made available in the Old Bunching Shed museum, so that you can see how the store developed.

The tours cost just £5 and are all donated to RABI, a charity that provides local support to the farming community in England and Wales.